The Key Attributes of High-Performing Teams


A brilliant product idea coupled with the right business strategy sounds like a sure win for many organisations. However, if the organisation lacks high-performance teams, it's sure to be faced with plenty of hurdles and challenges in bringing that idea to fruition.

There are some teams that succeed consistently at delivering a set of tasks, while there are those that struggle when appointed the same work. Identifying and building high-performance teams is a key part of running a successful organisation.

Research conducted on the dynamics of successful teams has shown that the performance of team members is strongly influenced by their team environment.

For example, talented individuals can underperform when paired with the wrong team, while less talented individuals can shine with the right one.

This leads to the conclusion that organisational leaders need to come up with team compositions that help people achieve a higher rate of productivity while avoiding those that hinder people from performing at their best.

High performance is built on trust

A high level of trust is a crucial characteristic of high-performance teams. And trust shouldn’t just be limited to that of between employees and leadership, it should also be strong amongst the team members themselves.

A great way of building trust is through positive and constructive feedback. Another way of building trust is by assigning people with more responsibility, and then rewarding them when they do well with it.

Effective collaboration is not possible if there isn’t any trust between team members.

On the contrary, team members that constantly blame each other weaken the team as a whole, and this leads to an environment of hostility. Any signs of such behaviour should be stopped and dealt with swiftly.

Trust leads to a sense of reliability and that gives team members more confidence in the ability of the team as a whole to deliver well.

Team members should be able to deal with conflict in a healthy and productive manner. Leadership can play an important role in such conflict resolutions.

There are some “out of the box” exercises to foster trust between team members and it can be really beneficial to look into these. An example of this would be team outings where team members must work together to accomplish fun and light-hearted challenges. 

Collaboration is essential for high performance

Collaboration and communication are essential for any team. Collaboration is a natural extension of communication and chances are that if your team is successful at communication, the collaboration will not be a problem.

As discussed earlier, modern organisations now have departments that integrate diverse disciplines. As such, the respective experts need to come together and collaborate successfully in order to achieve the collective business objectives of the organisation.

Conventional businesses reward individuals that deliver extraordinary results. But this completely ignores “behind-the-scenes” collaborations that enabled the individual to deliver those results.

So in order to encourage and promote collaboration in teams, you need to start recognising and rewarding teams that deliver high performance through collective efforts. This will further enhance the performance of these teams and will encourage other teams in the organisation to do the same.

A great way of rewarding and encouraging collaboration is by highlighting examples of great results that were achieved with successful collaborative efforts. Point out the reasons why such great results were possible only through effective collaboration and this will likely inspire other teams.

Effective communication is the heart of the team

Effective communication is absolutely necessary for the smooth operation of a modern business.

Bad communication often leads to mismanaged expectations, which can often lead to talented individuals performing poorly in a team environment.

A common trait of every high-performance team is that they practice excellent communication. And this trait is now more important than ever, as organisations shift towards agile business models that require dynamic integration of many disciplines and collaboration with offshore resources.

Therefore, leaders need to continuously encourage the importance of good communication within their teams. Good communication isn’t achieved overnight. It’s a process that requires constant attention, practice, and analysis.

Focus on meaningful results, not hours of work

Organisational leaders and managers often develop a habit of measuring performance using quantifiable metrics. But these aren’t enough to truly gauge performance.

If the pressure is on people to achieve success in numbers, it’s unlikely that they’ll be inspired to do great work. Sure, people will still be achieving those numbers but they won’t go any further as performance is being judged by numbers alone.

A great team isn’t one that can get a lot done. Rather, great teams can get work done and come up with innovative solutions that you’d normally never come up with.

Team leaders should, therefore, learn to focus on what matters. They should guide their teams to come up with ways to make progress in critical areas, rather than overloading them with unnecessary tasks.

lauren ryder headshot.png

Enjoy the read?

We're passionate about helping businesses achieve their potential - I hope you found this article useful.

Want to see what we can do for your business? Contact me


More blogs


People, CultureLauren Ryder